Ethics & International Affairs Volume 20.2 (Summer 2006): Articles: The Gendered Dimensions of Conflict's Aftermath: A Victim-Centered Approach to Compensation [Abstract]

Jul 28, 2006

Although international security studies tend to focus on the nature of armed conflict and how nations fare in the face of such conflicts, our attention has been drawn to the challenge of managing the peace. Specifically, given the enormity of the damage caused by state-sponsored violence, both in terms of property and in terms of human damage, how can the people of a nation that has served as a battleground be assisted in their recovery from the devastation caused by conflict? Ongoing trauma from armed conflict has peculiarly gendered dimensions and requires solutions that are attentive to those dimensions.

Here, we focus on remedies that shift from perpetrator-centered tribunals to victim-centered compensation commissions. Using the United Nations Compensation Commission established to provide restitution to Kuwaiti citizens following the Iraqi invasion as an example, we argue that the restitution model is a more humane and ethical option for managing the aftermath of conflict than war crimes tribunals, which employ a retributive philosophy. Using the limited evidence available on compensation and rebuilding, we make concrete recommendations for an approach to post-conflict adjudication that makes the well-being of victims its top priority.

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